Can the Cans, Romney (Slate)

Food drives are a terrible idea if you want to help people after a disaster.

By Matthew Yglesias | Posted Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, at 6:38 PM ET

Editor’s note: The Mitt Romney campaign held a storm relief event in Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday and collected canned-food donations. The problem? Relief organizations would prefer cash. In 2011 Matthew Yglesias wrote about why food drives are not very helpful. The article is printed below.

‘Tis the season for food drives. It’s a holiday tradition as storied as Christmas trees, awkward conversations with the in-laws, and embarrassing drunken moments at the office holiday party. Your employer, your church, and your kids’ school put out the boxes and ask everyone to drop off excess canned goods for the needy. Then the boxes are collected, sorted, and handed out to the poor. Everyone feels better about themselves, the hungry get fed, and you get to free up some much needed shelf space. It’s win-win-win.

The problem is that, economically speaking, it’s totally insane.

Read the full article on Slate.